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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to give a cat a pill

Cats are notoriously difficult at taking medication, or so everyone tells you. There are exceptions though, so before you give up, give the cat and yourself a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Last Sunday, Charlotte seemed particularly agitated. She sat for two minutes on a chair, moved to a cabinet, abandoned that spot for the floor, only to move to my bed. I thought she would settle there, but no, then she moved to the walk-in closet.

At first I thought it was the unusually violent wind that made Charlotte nervous, but then I noticed her going from one litter box to another, and I suspected a urinary tract infection.
I called the vet, but being Sunday, his practice was closed. We had no choice but to take Charlotte to the emergency veterinary hospital. I guess I could have waited a day, but if there was even the slightest chance that Charlotte was in pain, I rather didn’t.

The doctor confirmed my suspicion, Charlotte had indeed a urinary tract infection. He prescribed antibiotics which had to be administered twice a day.

I had hoped that he would be able to give Charlotte something, medication with a time release, but no, it had to be pills.

My request to give Charlotte the first dosage didn’t fly either, the medication should be given after a meal. The doctor recommended that we got some pill pockets if we had troubles giving Charlotte her pills. That sounded like a good idea, but unfortunately, the veterinary hospital didn’t carry such pill pockets.

Equipped with 20 tablets we returned home.

Given the fact that the pills had to be given every 12 hours, we decided to give Charlotte her first pill at 10:00 p.m. Neither of us were particularly keen, and we prepared ourselves for Charlotte wriggling out of our hands, spitting out the pill, followed by taking off at considerable speed and hiding under the bed.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Dieter got hold of Charlotte, she was petted by both of us, then I coated the pill in some butter, opened Charlotte’s mouth and dropped the pill at the back of her tongue. While I gently rubbed her throat she swallowed the pill and that was the end of that. No mess, no fuss. As a reward, Charlotte got a treat (and so did the others).

Strengthened by how easy this had been, I attempted to give Charlotte her pill the next day at 10:00 a.m. I fully expected that this was not going to work, after all, giving a cat a pill with the help of another person is not the same as giving a cat a pill on one’s own.

Charlotte surprised me though. I got the pill ready, coated it in butter, picked up Charlotte, petted her, put her on the table, got the pill, opened her mouth and dropped the pill at the back of her tongue. Once again, no mess, no fuss. Once again, she got a treat.

This goes to show that not all cats are difficult in getting medication. So, next time you have to give your cat a pill, don’t fear the worst. Your cat might surprise you.

Love, calmness and a treat, that’s the secret. Or you could say, a little butter makes the medicine go down.

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